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Speed limits in the Regional Road tunnel

Here are some excerpts from a letter I received:

Being in the automobile repairs sector and also a VRT operator, I draw your attention to the fact that we have cars in Malta which, although originate from Europe, are originally designed and produced as left-hand drive and their speedometers main dials are in kilometres per hour (kph).

Prior to exporting such cars to Malta, the alterations made are not limited to moving the steering wheel on to the right hand side of the vehicle. They also convert the speedometer to miles per hour, because they have the same specifications as vehicles sold in Britain.

However, although Britain is a member of the European Union, it has not gone metric. Indeed it stuck to the speed limits in miles per hour. Therefore every vehicle imported into the UK must have its speedometer with the main dial in miles per hour, and a very much smaller secondary speedometer in km/h. This is technically known as a dual reading speedometer.

Dual reading speedometers are fitted to vehicles that are to British specifications, such as the majority of vehicles imported into Malta. These have the large dials in white reading in mph, and the small dials in yellow or red which makes them all the more difficult to read.

Now everybody knows that the main dials can be seen quite easily. However I ask you, if you have a vehicle with British specifications like the majority that we have on our roads, can you read the small dials while following a car through a tunnel trying to maintain a maximum speed of 45 kph, equivalent to 27.69 mph, in order not to be caught by the speed camera?

Therefore my question is: Why didn't the people involved in setting up the cameras do the speed restricting road sign in both kilometres per hour and miles per hour, or two separate signs showing both speeds?

Moreover, if the speed cameras installed are there to educate and guide the motorist, why is it that they are at the end, that is going out of the tunnel of Regional Road and not at the entries to the tunnels?

Now we all know that coming out of the Regional Road tunnel towards Gzira one encounters quite a high incline. The speed at which one is restricted to go down to (say 28 mph) surely will make one go down at least one gear, if not two, in order to maintain the prescribed speed limit and hold your vehicle under control.

This results in higher emissions (carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide) because the engine revs per minute are now much higher for the speed the vehicle is travelling at, and to be able to negotiate the incline.

Another argument on the position of the cameras is that, on sunny days, on entering the tunnel, one loses one's eyesight or focus for a split second, resulting in driving blindly for that split second.

So would it not be a good thing to remove the cameras from the tunnel exit and place them at the entry? In this way, at least one has to slow down on entering and, maybe, should someone have their can break down on entering or in the first few metres of the tunnel, at least the speed would be really low and one will be able to control the vehicle, thus avoiding a nasty if not fatal accident. (Martin Spiteri, ex-instructor, Umberto Calosso Trade School and head, St Patrick's Heavy Plant, St Andrews; director, Car Clinic, Gzira)

While thanking Mr Spiteri for his letter I would appreciate your feedback, dear readers. Do you agree? Do you think this could be another issue on which it is well worth running another campaign? As regular readers know, we have established a good track in the area of campaigns. The ball is in your court.

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